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This Blog used to be about the question: What is Science?
Now, it asks: What is Happiness?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Strumming the Rails....

My dear friend and intrepid explorer of all possibilities, the right honourable David Basckin, is of this week, an orphan. After what seems to have been a tumultous life, his mum passed away. It is always thus that in human affairs it is the beginnings and endings that we ritualize. I personally, not being of the afterlife persuasion and never being that attached to my body anyway, have long considered that if I were to die, I may happily be discarded with Monday's rubbish collection. If the Cuban Hat were still around I would want a few good ole mates to maybe get me burnt up and mix my ashes in some Twinings Earl Grey Tea. It seems that no matter what you do, some kind of ritual comes out of it, and so it should lest we wallow in unadmitted sorrow through our own twilight years. Dave Basckin impressed me with his understated Zonkie Bonkie funeral home facility and the wonderful way in which he (and bro Jonathon) gloriously respected their mum's wish to be buried at sea (well, the ashes that is). So somehow the last grey remains of a monumental life are now in the Indian Ocean...and as Dave says, The Sea off Durban will never be the same again. Funnily enough, Rod Prynne, intrepid surfer, noted that the ocean seemed uncannily rough and testy in the last few days....

Talking about ritual, as a precursor and traveller's blessing for my imminent trip to Washington to make a start on my RRAM (Reverse Ride Across America) Mikhail Peppas and I met in the shadows of an almost deserted eatery on the edge of Berea Park (where once we played and frolicked safely as kids) and lit a candle for the memory of Stuart Rolland, who died of AIDS in 2002. This standard issue candle will be relit by me and left in Arlington cemetery next week.
Why Arlington? Well, Stuart once inherited a tidy sum of money and immediately took almost all of it and blew it on a trip to America. His father had bought a piece of land, mail order, in Florida and left it to Stuart in his will. Often a time, when confronted with a bragard's disdain of our trampish friend, Stuart would comment to us afterwards....'All very well, but I bet he doesn't own land in America.' Needless to say, Stuart never visited the land.
So off I go, candle and US visa in hand to see what happens that I never expected to occur.

Watch this spot - If I can get my Nokia to talk American Data then there will be regular updates, if not, see ya when I return.
PS. The real gem of this trip is that having lost my laptop HDD yesterday I am travelling laptopless! Yippee! Out with the pen and paper!


  1. Now look here, Smith. You can hardly come to the New World without looking me up. It's only about 2 months by bicycle between Washington DC and Washington State. I'm even prepared to pick you up in a solar topee and Land Rover at the end of the road. We have cats, broadband Internet (8Mbps), and a spare bed.

  2. Have you done this trip yet?
    I read your post on the C & O Canal yahoo group.
    if it's not too late I would be delighted to meet you for a day on the canal.

    j.brewer aka

    1. Hi! Are you still riding? Believe it or not, I have just piucked up on this message, 5 years later...